Jun 052013

The Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that seeks to curb incidents of bullying in schools in the country.

The approved measure directs elementary and secondary schools in the Philippines to put in place policies that will address bullying.

“The heart of this measure is the education of parents on bullying and to familiarize them with the anti-bullying policies of the school. With that information, parents would have better choices which schools to send their children,” said Senator Edgardo Angara, one of the authors of the bill, in a statement.

The measure also tasks the Department of Education to propose administrative sanctions for schools who will not have anti-bullying policies.

In the House version of the bill, which was approved last December, bullying may be in the form of “any severe or repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression, or a physical act or gesture, or any combination thereof.”

The House bill added that these actions should be “directed at another student that has the effect of actually causing or placing the latter in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm or damage to his property” to be considered as bullying.

The Senate committee on education, arts and culture opted to use the House version as its working document, take two similar Senate bills into consideration (SB 413, SB 2677) and approve the bill with five specific amendments.

A bicameral conference committee will convene soon and its output will then ratified by both houses of Congress before it is sent to the President for final approval.  — ELR, GMA News

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